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Make Pounds and Ounces Comprehensible to Your Students

  • To help students make reasonable estimates with any type of measurement including weight, students must have experiences measuring items that are common to them.  For example, when teaching students how heavy a pound or ounce is, allow them to hold a small bag of sugar for a pound and a square of baking chocolate for an ounce.  Have students predict how many baking chocolate squares (ounces) it will take to make a bag of sugar (pound).  Then place one ounce on the scale at a time for students to see.  When you are halfway to a pound stop and ask the students if they wish to change their predictions.
  • Notes:  When students only hold the standard metal measurements that come with balance beam scales, they tend to have a skewed view of how heavy a pound or ounce is since the metal is so dense.   When you are looking for a pound of sugar in the baking aisle, the normal granulated sugar isn’t typically sold in a one pound bag.  However, you can buy a small pound of  sugar in a box to represent one pound.   These are the only items in the grocery store that I have found to weigh exactly one pound and one ounce.  If you have found others, please comment.

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